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Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For Intel x86
Chapter 7 - Installing the Kernel and Base Operating System


7.1 ``Install Kernel and Driver Modules''

The next step is to install a kernel and kernel modules onto your new system.

You will be offered a menu of devices from which you can install the kernel, and an option to install using the network. You can use any available device, you are not restricted to using the same media you used to mount (see Obtaining System Installation Media, Chapter 4).

Note that the options presented to you will vary based on what hardware dbootstrap has detected. If you are installing from an official CD-ROM, the software should do the right thing automatically, not even prompting you for a device to install from (unless you boot with the verbose argument). When prompted for the CD-ROM, be sure to insert the first CD-ROM in the drive.

If you are installing from a local file system, you have a choice between two options. Select ``hard disk'' if the disk partition is not yet mounted; select ``mounted'' if it is. In both cases, the system will first look for some files in dists/woody/main/disks-i386/current. If it doesn't find those files, you will be prompted to ``Select Debian Archive path'' — this is the directory within the disk where you have placed the required installation files. If you have a Debian archive mirrored locally, you can use that by giving the directory where that exists, which is often /archive/debian. Such archives are characterized by directory structures such as debian/dists/woody/main/disks-i386/current. You can type in the path manually, or use the <...> button to browse through the file system tree.

Continuing the discussion on installation from a local disk or similar medium (such as NFS), you will next be prompted for the actual directory containing the needed files (which may be based on your subarchitecture). Note that the system may be quite insistent that the files appear in the precise location indicated, including the subdirectories, if any. See the logs in tty3 (see Using the Shell and Viewing the Logs, Section 5.7.1) where dbootstrap will log the location of the files it's looking for.

If the ``default'' option appears, then you should use that. Otherwise, try the ``list'' option to let dbootstrap try to find the actual files on its own (but note that this can be very slow if you're mounting over NFS). As a last resort, use the ``manual'' option to specify the directory manually.

If you're installing from floppies, you'll need to feed in the rescue floppy (which is probably already in the drive), followed by the driver floppies.

If you wish to install the kernel and modules over the network, you can do this using the ``network'' (HTTP) or ``NFS'' options. Your networking interfaces must be supported by the standard kernel (see Peripherals and Other Hardware, Section 2.5). If these ``NFS'' options don't appear, you need to select ``Cancel'', then go back and select the ``Configure the Network'' step (see ``Configure the Network'', Section 7.7), and then re-run this step.


7.2 NFS

Select the ``NFS'' option, and then tell dbootstrap your NFS server name and path. Assuming you've put the rescue floppy and driver floppies images on the NFS server in the proper location, these files should be available to you for installing the kernel and modules. The NFS file system will be mounted under /instmnt. Select the location of the files as for ``hard disk'' or ``mounted''.


7.3 Network

Select the ``network'' option, and then tell dbootstrap the URL and path to the Debian archive. The default will usually work fine, and in any case, the path part is probably correct for any official Debian mirror, even if you edit the server part. You may choose to pull the files in through a proxy server; just enter the server ...this sentence isn't finished...


7.4 NFS Root

If you are installing a diskless workstation, you should have already configured your networking as described in ``Configure the Network'', Section 7.7. You should be given the option to install the kernel and modules from NFS. Proceed using the ``NFS'' option described above.

Other steps may need to be taken for other installation media.


7.5 ``Configure PCMCIA Support''

There is an alternate step, before the ``Configure Device Driver Modules'' menu selection, called ``Configure PCMCIA Support''. This menu is used to enable PCMCIA support.

If you do have PCMCIA, but are not installing your Debian system using it (e.g., installation with a PCMCIA Ethernet card), then you need not configure PCMCIA at this point. You can easily configure and enable PCMCIA at a later point, after installation is complete. However, if you are installing by way of a PCMCIA network device, this alternate must be selected, and PCMCIA support must be configured prior to configuring the network. This alternate step is sufficient to load the device driver for a PCMCIA ethernet card.

If you need to install PCMCIA, select the alternate, below ``Configure Device Driver Modules''. You will be asked which PCMCIA controller your system contains. In most cases, this will be i82365. In some cases, it will be tcic; your laptop's vendor-supplied specifications should provide the information if in doubt. You can generally leave the next few sets of options blank. Again, certain hardware has special needs; the Linux PCMCIA HOWTO contains plenty of information in case the default doesn't work.

In some unusual cases, you may also need to read and edit /etc/pcmcia/config.opts. You can open your second virtual terminal (Left Alt-F2) and edit the file there, and then reconfigure your PCMCIA, or manually forcing a reload of the modules using insmod and rmmod.

Once PCMCIA is properly configured and installed, you should jump back up and configure your device drivers as described in the next section.


7.6 ``Configure Device Driver Modules''

Select the ``Configure Device Driver Modules'' menu item to configure device drivers, that is, kernel modules.

You will first be prompted if you would like to load additional kernel modules from a vendor-supplied floppy. Most can skip this step, since it is only useful if there are some additional proprietary or non-standard modules which are needed for your hardware (for instance, for a specific SCSI controller). It will look for modules in the floppy in locations such as /lib/modules/misc (where misc can be any standard kernel module section). Any such files will be copied to the disk you're installing to, so that they can be configured in the next step.

Next, the modconf program will be run, which is a simple program which displays the kernel modules sections and allows you to step through the various kernel sections, picking out what modules you would like to install.

We recommend that you only configure devices which are required for the installation process and not already detected by the kernel. Many people do not need to configure any kernel modules at all.

For instance, you may need to explicitly load a network interface card driver from the net section, a SCSI disk driver in the scsi section, or a driver for a proprietary CD-ROM in the cdrom section. The devices you configure will be loaded automatically whenever your system boots.

Some modules may require parameters. To see what parameters are relevant, you'll have to consult the documentation for that kernel driver.

At any point after the system is installed, you can reconfigure your modules by using the modconf program.


7.7 ``Configure the Network''

If the installation system does not detect that you have a network device available, you will be presented with the ``Configure the Hostname'' option. Even if you don't have a network, or if your network connection dynamically goes up and down (e.g., uses dialup) your machine must have a name to call itself.

If the installation system does detect a network device, you'll be presented with the ``Configure the Network'' step. If the system does not allow you to run this step, then that means it cannot see any network devices present. If you have a network device, that means you probably missed configuring the network device back in ``Configure Device Driver Modules'', Section 7.6. Go back to that step and look for net devices.

As you enter the ``Configure the Network'' step, if the system detects that you have more than one network device, you'll be asked to choose which device you wish to configure. You may only configure one. After installation, you may configure additional interfaces — see the interfaces(5) man page.

If dbootstrap detects that you configured PCMCIA (``Configure PCMCIA Support'', Section 7.5), you will be asked to confirm that your network card is a PCMCIA card. This affects how and where the network configuration is set.

dbootstrap will next ask you whether you wish to use a DHCP or BOOTP server to configure your network. If you can, you should say ``Yes'', since it allows you to skip all the rest of the next section. You should hopefully see the reply ``The network has been successfully configured using DHCP/BOOTP.''. Jump forward to ``Install the Base System'', Section 7.8. If configuration fails, check your wires and the log on tty3, or else move on and configure the network manually.

To manually configure the network, dbootstrap will ask a number of questions about your network; fill in the answers from Information You Will Need, Section 3.3. The system will also summarize your network information and ask you for confirmation. Next, you need to specify the network device that your primary network connection uses. Usually, this will be ``eth0'' (the first Ethernet device).

Some technical details you might, or might not, find handy: the program assumes the network IP address is the bitwise-AND of your system's IP address and your netmask. It will guess the broadcast address is the bitwise OR of your system's IP address with the bitwise negation of the netmask. It will guess that your gateway system is also your DNS server. If you can't find any of these answers, use the system's guesses — you can change them once the system has been installed, if necessary, by editing /etc/network/interfaces. Alternatively, you can install etherconf, which will step you through your network setup.


7.8 ``Install the Base System''

The next step is to install the base system. The base system is a minimal set of packages which provides a working, basic, self-contained system. It's under 70MB in size.

During the ``Install the Base System'' step, if you're not installing from a CD-ROM, you'll be offered a menu of devices from which you may install the base system. You should select the appropriate installation media. If you are installing from an official CD-ROM, you will simply be prompted to insert it.

If you are installing the base system over the network, note that some steps may take a significant amount of time, and progress may not be evident. In particular, the initial retrieve of Packages.gz, and the installs for base and essential packages may seem to be stalled; give them some extra time. You can use df -h in console 2 to assure yourself that the contents of your disk are indeed changing.

However, if the install bogs down right away retrieving a file called Release, you may assume that the network archive has not been found, or there is a problem with it.

If you are installing the base system from your hard disk, just point the installer to the basedebs.tar disk location, similar to the procedure for installing the kernel and modules.


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Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For Intel x86

version 3.0.24, 18 December, 2002

Bruce Perens
Sven Rudolph
Igor Grobman
James Treacy
Adam Di Carlo